In November 2020, the G20 countries launched a five-year work programme to improve external payments. The programme has been divided into 19 work areas. 16 of these focus on how to improve current structures for cross-border payments. The remaining three have been grouped under the working group Future of Payments. These are more forward-looking and focus on entirely new solutions. They look at how central bank digital currencies, the type of cryptocurrency known as stablecoins, and multilateral payment platforms can be used to improve cross-border payments. As a member of the CPMI, the Riksbank was given the responsibility of leading these working groups.
Central bank digital currencies
In July 2022, a report was published that looks more closely at how different countries’ central bank digital currency systems can be linked and communicate with each other to simplify cross-border payments. The report also investigates different models for how the publics and payment service providers can gain access to central bank digital currency from a cross-border perspective. A key conclusion is that central banks around the world should cooperate and take cross-border payments into account as soon as they start to develop a central bank digital currency.
One of the working groups is examining whether multilateral platforms could improve cross-border payments. Multilateral platforms are payment systems that involve several countries, such as the planned Nordic cooperation P27 and the Eurosystem’s instant payment settlement system, TIPS. In an article published in July 2022, the working group concluded that multilateral platforms could alleviate some of the problems that exist with cross-border payments today, such as long transaction chains, but that further analysis is needed. The working group’s final report is expected to be published in January 2023.
The working group on stablecoins has focused on whether stablecoins can help improve foreign payments. One condition of the analysis has been that stablecoins comply with all relevant laws and requirements.